The adage, "half your age plus seven," describes the rule for men who want to date younger women, but when it comes to male dating patterns, the assumption that younger is better may not be true. A new study suggests that most men prefer to date someone closer to their own age.

The study, now published in the online journal Evolutionary Psychology, found that men, like women, also became interested in older partners as they aged. In addition, the report revealed that men and women are sexually interested in partners their own age throughout their entire lives, and most sexual activity occurs between partners of around the same age, according to a release.

Read: Children of Older Fathers Live Longer and Have Stronger DNA

This finding isn’t just true for heterosexual men. Homosexual and bisexual men also followed the same rule of thumb, opting for partners their own age, rather than much older or younger love interests.

Age preference for sexual partners isn’t just a matter of coincidence; many scientists believe there are evolutionary reasons that explain our attraction to others. For example, a 2014 study suggested that men of all ages prefer women in their mid-20s because this is when a woman is at her fertility peak, and therefore more likely to pass on his genes to offspring. On the other hand, the same study found that women in their 20s felt most attracted to men slightly older than themselves. This also had an evolutionary explanation, as the study posited that older men were likely to have more resources, and therefore better ensure offspring’s survival into adulthood.

In addition there are other studies that support this preference on a more molecular level. For example research has suggested that daughters of older mothers are more likely to develop anxiety whereas offspring of older fathers live longer and have stronger DNA. But for the most part, in a time and place such as the U.S., where men are no longer the main income earners and science is helping women reproduce beyond their natural limits, these rules may no longer apply.

In fact, data suggest that one of the biggest predictor of divorce is too much of an age gap between spouses. The research, conducted by data scientist Randy Olson in 2014, and based on information from more than 3,000 recently married couples, found that those who are the same age had the lowest chance of divorce. Divorce rates rose to 19 percent for those with five years between them, and couples with a 20-year gap had a 95 percent chance of splitting up.

Source: Antfolk J. Age Limits Men’s and Women’s Youngest and Oldest Considered and Actual Sex Partners. Evolutionary Psychology. 2017

See Also:

Age Is Just A Number To Younger Men, Who Now Prefer Dating Older Women

Some Practical Marriage Advice: Get Hitched With Someone Your Own Age